How An Embroidery Shop Can Cut a Corner (to Spite the Customer)

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We had a nice experience meeting with a prospective customer recently.  It is a sizeable company near Seattle with many employees and an existing relationship with another embroidery and screen printing shop.  So we decided it would be worth the minor investment to digitize the company’s logo and stitch it out on some material that we could bring to the meeting.

Preparing a logo on speculation is always a little bit of a risk for an embroidery shop because:

  • We are usually using the internet to identify the correct logo (as opposed to the customer supplying preferred art);
  • The colors on our monitor may be off from the company’s true pantone colors;
  • We have no idea whether the size of the embroidered design is smaller, larger, or the same as what the prospect is used to seeing; and
  • We are assuming that the quality of our embroidery work will at least match and hopefully exceed what the prospect sees from its current vendor.

The customer’s buyer representative was happy to meet.  We showed her some samples of designs we had stitched out, some of which you can find elsewhere on our website.  At the bottom of the deck was the sample stitchout of her company’s own logo.  We were very pleased when she commented how much better our embroidery work was compared to what she had been buying from her other vendor.  But we could not help but made be a little curious by the compliment, so we asked what was different.  She responded, “The edge stitching you did here is so much nicer and sharper than what we have been getting.”

Like many businesses, embroidery and screen printing shops constantly make choices about whether and how to cut a corner to save a buck or two.  Here is an example of an unfinished edge on a stitched logo.  example-of-unfinished-edged-on-embroidered-logo

Here is a picture of a finished edge on a stitched logo.

embroidery-finished-edge-seattle

Visually the difference is obvious.  So why would a shop not choose to finish the edges?  Only two reasons:

  1. The customer requests that it be this way.
  2. The embroidery shop is literally cutting corners to save about $0.10 in additional thread.

Saving a dime does not seem like that would be a decision driver, does it?  That is true.  It is not really the thread that is the big cost, but the additional machine time.  Finishing those edges would require about 30-45 seconds of machine time, and THAT can add up to real money when a shop is trying to crank out the embroidered shirts, caps, jackets, etc.

We constantly tell new prospects that we are not the cheapest vendor around, and that if they are looking for the cheapest vendor, they need to look elsewhere.  That might seem smug, but we have seen that there is a big market out there for shoddy work.  We might be “slow” for not trying to grab as much of it as we can, but we feel that doing high quality work generates its own rewards for both our shop and the clients who have come to love working with us!

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